When my kids were very little I wanted to create a reusable advent calendar for them. I really wanted to get creative with the traditions I had when I was a kid. Traditions are so very important to me and how I connect and support my family. Being a one-income family, this Nativity Scene needed to be crafted cheaply as possible. I already had the mini-numbered stockings that a neighbor had gifted to my family when I was young. Next, I just needed some felt and my imagination! Since I created this for my very young children it is created to withstand curious playing, moving, arranging, etc. Check out this tutorial for an awesome DIY Felt Nativity Scene and learn how to use it as an Advent Calendar. Video included!
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Here are some awesome ideas for the Advent Calander portion of this idea. One is homemade DIY with paper bags and some are available right on Amazon! The stocking one is most like the one we use at our house.
As I mentioned, I wanted something fun, toddler appropriate, and keeping with the reason for the season. I had a ton of felt left over from a previous craft project. So, I set to work and drew some simple templates. I made myself a list of all the parts of a nativity scene and came up with more than enough to have a piece for each day of advent. Here is my list.
3 Wise Men
Stable- 2 sides and 1 Roof
2 Palm Trees
One Big Star
2 Small Stars
Baby Bed or Manger
2 Shepards Crooks
Something I didn’t add but you could the gifts from the wise men!
Once they were drawn, I cut them out and pinned them to the felt to cut the material into desired shapes. Several of the pattern parts will be cut out multiple times for different pieces. I have linked some felt, as well as some of the other things I used to create the facial details.
I used embroidery floss to stitch the different pieces together to create the figures with their faces, and sashes, and to add details like mouth and eyes. If you are not into sewing then,gluingthe shapes will work just as well. And a sharpie or tube of puff fabric paint can be used to add details like the eyes and mouth.
This is a pretty simple project and can be done one evening while watching your favorite show or even during nap time.
My kids love to pull each piece and create the scene of Jesus’ birth story. They take turns pulling one piece of the scene out each day. Please share with me if you try to make it on your own! As they get older, I am going to start including notes in each stocking with Acts of Christmas Kindness. The extra practice of being kind during the holiday season is always a good tradition to create and enjoy.
This DIY Felt Nativity Scene and Advent Calendar can also be used with a Christmas-themed Busy Box for your kiddos. What is a Busy Box, you ask? Check them out here! Busy Boxes for Independent Playtime.